Rector's Letter - August 2015

Dear Friends,

There is a lot of concern these days that our British way of life is under threat, and various national leaders are urging us to stand up for "British values". We know what we mean by "British values": fairness, tolerance and respect, freedom of speech, the Rule of Law, democracy and so on. These are the bedrock of our society. They are under threat from poisonous terrorist ideologies and the Government's response with very necessary security measures. But, I believe that there is another subtle, insidious influence that has been undermining our values and culture for some time. As the church loses more and more of its position in our nation, young people grow up with a very minimal knowledge of our Christian faith and heritage. For instance, when we plan weddings with couples, we have great trouble finding hymns they know. Church and Christianity are fairly alien concepts to many. This is a shame, as these are the values on which "British culture" is founded and Bible stories are a major theme in our literature and art.

The Jewish people have one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world. The Babylonians, Romans and other ancient races are long gone. The Jews have survived almost constant persecution and have been dispersed all over the earth, but their customs and distinctive culture has remained virtually intact. This remarkable achievement is in a large part due to the insistence that they must pass their faith on to their children, as commanded by the Old Testament laws.

We, in Christian Britain have not been so good at passing on our faith to the next generation. Society has changed so much, and the church, and parents, have found it very hard to adapt, to pass on our Christian heritage in an exciting and relevant way.

We, at St Katharine's and St Margaret's, are attempting, in a small way, to give our local children a basic grounding in the amazing stories of the Bible. Stories that help us find values and understanding in life. The Holiday Club, this August, is an exciting musical drama of the story of David and Goliath, and is thoroughly enjoyed by all. We have also started Early Bird services at both churches. These are only half an hour or so and look at a Bible story in a fun and active way. This allows people to go onto other Sunday activities afterwards. I would very much value your support and prayers and help with ideas and skills here. I feel that this is an important, if small, contribution for strengthening those "British values" in the rising generation.

With my best wishes for a relaxing and enjoyable August,
Yours, in Christ, John.

Verse for the Month

“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord... He established the law in Israel, which He commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so that the next generation would know them, even children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.”
Psalm 78:4-5

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